Amy’s story

Amy*, 19, was in an abusive relationship with a boy she met when she was 13…
 
“The abuse started February 2002 when I was 13 years old. I met the guy through school a couple of months previously; he was a good friend of my ex-boyfriend. The relationship lasted two months in total. The abuse was constant through out, starting from the first day.
 
…he would force his hand
 
Every day we were together he would force his hand down into my underwear. He never hit me as such, but he did use restraint to stop me from pulling away from him. This could be by pushing me against a wall or getting me in a small space like a wardrobe.
 
…he would spread rumours that I was ‘easy’
He would force me to do sexual things that I didn’t want to do and also spread rumours round the school that I was ‘easy’. At the time I mentioned it to some of my friends but I don’t think they really understood what was happening.
 
…I didn’t know what was normal
 
I felt confused, I knew what was happening was wrong but I also didn’t know what was right. I had never been told what was normal in a relationship and I didn’t realise that it’s ok to say no and that he should have respected that.
 
…you can always say “no”
 
I think that young people should realise that you can always say “no” at any point. Also that there are people out there who can offer help and support – there’s always a way out.
 
…don’t belittle your experience
 
I think it’s important not to belittle your experience. I often felt that because my experience only lasted two months and as it didn’t involve full sexual intercourse it didn’t mean as much. The truth is it means as much as you feel it means. Things affect people in different ways and this experience has affected me a lot.
 
…more basic relationship advice is needed
 
I don’t think people even consider domestic violence as an issue for teenagers. Whether that’s because of our age or that sexual abuse at that age is usually assumed to be from an adult, I’m not sure. However what I am sure of is that more basic relationship advice is needed in schools to stop girls from getting in these situations to start off with. I know I’m not the only girl this has happened to, I can think of another five girls just off the top of my head who have experienced similar things.”
 
*Name has been changed.